Pontoon boats are the quintessential family boats – steady, roomy and able to accommodate a range of water sports including swimming, diving, fishing and water skiing. New models offer both comfort and performance, and even speed for those who prefer excitement on the water.
The invention of the pontoon boat
Pontoon boats are ideal family craft for use on inland lakes. In fact, that’s exactly the purpose for which they were invented in 1939, in the region of the Horseshoe chain of lakes in Minnesota. The invention may have been inspired by numerous lakes in the state’s title, which is “The Land of a Thousand Lakes”. But the credit goes to a man named Ambrose Weeres, who made the first pontoon boat by putting a wood platform atop two pontoons created by steel barrels welded together.
Weeres began marketing the boats and their popularity inspired him to start Weeres Industries. He came to be called Mr. Pontoon and was elected to the Minnesota Marina Hall of Fame. Pontoon boats are flatter than conventional boats, which makes them more stable on inland lakes, with their strong waves. Their stability and size also makes them the ideal fishing boat.
Pontoons are family craft
Pontoons are roomy and stable, which makes them the perfect family boat. In fact, they had something of a reputation as “party boats”, because they’re right for entertaining as well. However, newer models, built with lighter materials, have powerful engines and add performance to the package. Average pontoon boats with just one person on board can now reach speeds of 31 miles per hour.
Pontoon boats don’t trade comfort for performance, however, and they can still carry passengers in comfort and style. They come with all kinds of extras like luxurious leather seats, onboard bars and barbecue grills, and storage for food. Pontoon boats can also be customized with features rod holders, tackle, storage, livewell, and fishing stations. This makes them great fishing boats as well.
Should you buy your own boat?
While many people see a boat as a luxury purchase, the great majority of boat owners are actually middle class. As many as 72%, have a household income of less than $ 100,000. Recreational boating is a popular pastime, which is not surprising given that nearly the entire population of the U.S. lives close to a navigable body of water. Around 95% are less than an hour’s drive away from a lake, river or other body of water.
Owning a boat doesn’t mean buying a luxury yacht. Most privately owned boats are smaller craft, as well. Nearly all, or 95% of all powerboats, personal craft and sailboats in the U.S. are 26 feet or less in length, and can be towed by a personal vehicle like a car or a truck to the water. Boating and boat ownership are a good choice for families that love the water and water sports. When lookin for boats for sale, it’s a good idea to begin by finding a boat dealer you can trust, as they can be a good source of advice.
If you and your family love recreational boating and are planning to buy a boat, pontoon boats are a good choice. They’re stable, with plenty of room for passengers, and features that make them perfect for entertaining, fishing or just relaxing on the water.